Government and Community Responses to Drinking Water Challenges and Crises in Rural Newfoundland and Labrador: Final Project Report

Hanrahan, Maura and Dosu, Benjamin and Minnes, Sarah (2016) Government and Community Responses to Drinking Water Challenges and Crises in Rural Newfoundland and Labrador: Final Project Report. Research Report. Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Abstract

This study investigated government and community responses to water crises in three rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador- Flat Bay, Black Tickle, Labrador and Steady Brook with the first two being Indigenous communities. Using a qualitative approach, we interviewed community leaders, volunteer water operators, and provincial government officials. The study made use of two different interview schedules to elicit the required responses using primarily close- and open ended questions. The study reveals that the term “water crisis’ is defined differently by each community and shaped by specific experiences of water insecurity; meanwhile, community definitions contrast with the provincial government’s restrictive definition. The study establishes that each of the communities has experienced water crisis relating to contamination, infrastructure, water shortages, and/or weather. Limited local capacities coupled with aging infrastructure are the major challenges that hinder the communities’ effective response to drinking water crises. Decentralization approaches to water policy has resulted in local communities being responsible for the management of drinking water systems; this is problematic and inappropriate for rural communities. Proposed long-term solutions include broader definitions of the term water crisis; development of a comprehensive provincial wide water management plan; the creation of community- or region-specific water emergency preparedness plans; the provision of adequate financial resources and consultation and participation of communities through the establishment of multi-level water management committees.

Item Type: Report (Research Report)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12793
Item ID: 12793
Additional Information: 2015-16 Harris Centre - RBC Water Research and Outreach Fund
Department(s): Divisions > The Harris Centre
Date: July 2016
Date Type: Publication
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